Sciatica to Spinal Fusion: My Journey

Sometimes the pain is so bad it feels like you’re being pulled apart. Narcotic pain-killers bring very little, if any, relief. Stretching exercises bring temporary relief, but then the pain returns like a bill you keep forgetting to pay – with interest added.

It’s called sciatica. Its cause varies, but it’s normally the result of pressure on the sciatic nerve by one or more bulging or compressed disks in the lower back. Sometimes bone spurs on the lower spine cause the problem.

The sciatic nerve controls the function of the hips and legs. Sciatica caused pain, tingling, or numbness in one or more hips and/or legs and feet. The pain can range from annoying to moderate to the worst pain you’ve ever had.

Sometimes the condition can be relieved by physical therapy or by injections of anti-inflammatory drugs in the lower back which can bring pain relief and allow the body time to heal. Sometimes the condition results in surgical spinal fusion of one or more vertebrae. In my case the later was required.

I’m writing not as a physician but as a sufferer of sciatica who is hoping to be of some help or comfort to other sufferers. If you require more precise information, talk to your doctor. In addition, there are some great resources on the Web. One in particular I found helpful is

The posts in the category “Sciatica” chronicle my journey from the first signs of sciatica to my spinal fusion surgery. To follow my journey, begin with the post titled, “September 13, 2010” (click on category “Sciatica”, scroll to bottom, and then click on the link “older entries” twice).

Should you wish to add comments, feel free to jump in at any point. I’m not a medical professional so I cannot help with diagnosis or treatment, but if you’re also a sciatica sufferer perhaps we can find mutual help, comfort, and encouragement as we interact.

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